Selma, Ore. — Fire crews are still working the ‘Redwood Highway’ fire in Selma on Monday night, making sure all hot spots are put out. The 50 acre fire sparked late Friday afternoon, and burned three homes and five outbuildings. The fire is now 97-percent contained.
Fire officials say one reason they were able to get it under control so quickly, was because of the partnerships they have with other agencies. Nearly every fire department in Jackson and Josephine counties responded to the blaze on Friday.
“We were all waiting for the big one, luckily this is a big as it’s gotten,” Melissa Cano said, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Forestry. “But if it weren’t for everyone coming together, we wouldn’t have been able to stop it at the 50 acres.”
The Oregon State Police Arson Unit arrested Marcus Yeoman on a warrant Friday night, and later charged him with reckless burning. Troopers say Yeoman, a transient, started a campfire, which sparked the blaze.
The Oregon Department of Forestry increased the fire danger level to extreme on Monday. This, as Selma residents are returning to their homes. Mark Minnis told NBC5 News he did everything he could to protect his home, as the flames quickly spread up the street.
Minnis said he didn’t even know the Redwood Highway fire was approaching his house, until he received a phone call.
“This is a very scary experience,” Minnis said. “A friend called, and said there’s a fire, and so I went and looked out the window, and these trees looked like candles.”
Minnis says it didn’t take long for him to jump into action.
“I immediately hung up the phone, and ran outside and turned on the garden hose.”
Minnis said he was able to water down the trees surrounding his Deer Creek road property, and keep the flames away from his house until fire crews arrived.
“But then the wind changed or something, and it jumped the road over by this house next door, and then it started coming down this side of the street,” Minnis said.
Minnis worked with firefighters to stop the flames, before evacuating the area. Just across the street, his neighbor’s house was burned to the ground.
“Had any of these trees caught fire, we would have been in serious jeopardy.”
Fire crews will remain in the area on Monday night to check for hot spots.